So Long, and Thanks…

As most people following this blog have probably figured out by now, I’m pretty much calling it quits. I’m really grateful for the past few years I’ve had writing here, and in particular for the readers who have taken the time to write to me and to comment — your support and appreciation has meant more than I can say.

My writing in general has been put on hold because a number of other projects have taken precedence. Overall, it’s been a really positive thing for me to step away from this (and other writing projects). I’m now fostering relationships with people I love, learning new skills, becoming stronger and healthier, feeling challenged in really positive ways, and returning to things I’ve set aside for far too long. With writing (here and elsewhere), I’ve always felt a certain pressure — I feel positively guilty when I’m not working on something, not creating something. Right now, I don’t feel that sense of guilt. It’s very freeing, to be able to enjoy something and not immediately feel compelled to document it.

…but I know I can’t avoid that feeling for too long, of course. I already feel the pull back to a screenplay I wrote a first draft of a year ago. I’m reading a fantastic book on a pet subject of mine, and I inevitably turn to thoughts of interviewing the author for a magazine I’ve written for in the past, of perhaps even writing a follow-up book on the subject incorporating some new ideas and…no. Not now; not yet. Now I need time for day-to-day life, for friends, for playing games and music, for collaborating with others, for having fun, for absorbing ideas and words instead of generating them.

I might return to this some day. In particular, I’d love to return to the zine format and come up with “Issue 2” of Subversive Submissive. Right now, though, it’s time to put this aside for other things. Thanks again to everyone who’s read this over the years, and don’t hesitate to email me if you’d like: subversivesub at gmail dot com. So long.

Thoughts on “Play”

Here, then, we have the first main characteristic of play: that it is free, is in fact freedom. A second characteristic is closely connected with this, namely, that play is not “ordinary” or “real” life. It is rather a stepping out of “real” life into a temporary sphere of activity with a disposition all of its own . . . . Nevertheless . . . the consciousness of play being “only a pretend” does not by any means prevent it from proceeding with the utmost seriousness, with an absorption, a devotion that passes into rapture and, temporarily at least, completely abolishes that troublesome “only” feeling. Any game can at any time wholly run away with the players. The contrast between play and seriousness is always fluid. The inferiority of play is continually being offset by the corresponding superiority of its seriousness. Play turns to seriousness and seriousness to play. Play may rise to heights of beauty and sublimity that leave seriousness far beneath.

—Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture

October 29: Playing with Power: Anarchist Approaches to BDSM

Folks in the Bay Area: I’m facilitating a workshop next Thursday (10/29) on anarchism and BDSM. It’s in Berkeley, it’s free, and there will be cupcakes.


This month, we’ll have a facilitated discussion of what it means to practice BDSM as an anarchist. On the one hand, we have anti-BDSM arguments proclaiming that any type of BDSM play gives legitimacy to domination and submission as models for human relationships, and on the other, we have BDSM players who assert that anything they do and say is absolved by the fact that it turns them on. Some celebrate BDSM as a way to play with power, turning it on its head and perverting it for our own pleasure; other kinky folk are staunchly opposed to the idea of BDSM as merely “play,” and see “dominance” or “submission” as deep, constant aspects of their personality. If we are anti-hierarchical, can we also engage in (or support) relationships that are rooted in hierarchical models? Where do we draw the lines, if there are any to be drawn? We’ll look at a bit of BDSM and leather history, touch on the second-wave feminist backlash against BDSM in the 1980s, and identify specifically anarchist arguments against BDSM as a practice and as a subculture—and we’ll round it out with a discussion of concepts like “consent” and “play,” to see how these elements might help us make sense of What It Is That We Do.

Thursday, October 29
at the Long Haul Infoshop
3124 Shattuck Avenue / Woolsey in Berkeley (2 blocks from Ashby BART)
The space is wheelchair accessible and there is an accessible, gender-neutral bathroom.